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Some Must Win Games In The Champions League This Week

The Champions League resumes this week with several big names facing must-win games, while others will be looking to book their place in the last 16 alongside Porto, Málaga and Manchester United.

Tuesday’s Matches
Group E (Nordsjælland v Shakhtar Donetsk; Juventus v Chelsea)

Huge game in Turin between Juventus and Chelsea. A Chelsea win seems the European Champions progress to the knockout stages and sends Juventus into the Europa League. A Juventus win means that Chelsea will know longer control their own destiny.

Italy has not been a happy destination for Chelsea as they have won only once in eight visits to Italy, a 4-0 group stage success at Lazio in 2003/0. The other seven matches have resulted in four defeats and three draws.

Group F (BATE Borisov v Lille; Valencia v FC Bayern Munich)
This group is a lot tighter than most fans through it would be. Bayern and Valencia lead with 9 points each, with BATE just behind them at 6 points.

That is what makes the Valencia v Bayern game so interesting. Lille has been horrible in the Champions League this season and that is who Valencia meet on matchday 6. So a Valencia win, combined with a BATE win could set up a Bayern v BATE showdown on December 5 where the losers in last years final would need to win to progress out of the group

Group G (Spartak Moscow v Barcelona; Benfica v Celtic)
Barcelona were stunned by Celtic in Glasgow on matchday four, and while I expect Barcelona to win this group, Celtic’s victory means that the race for second place is now theirs to lose.

With a three-point lead over Benfica, Celtic will rubber-stamp their progress with a victory in Lisbon, scene of their famous European Cup victory in 1967. A score draw will also see Celtic advance if Spartak fail to beat Barcelona.

Group H (Galatasaray v Manchester United; CFR Cluj v Braga)
Manchester United had already won this group so expect them to play a young side in Turkey. That could help Galatasaray in their attempt to finish second in the group

Braga visit Romania for the first time knowing that the winner in that could move into second plce, depending on the result between Galatasaray and United. A defeat would end Braga’s ambitions, and could potentially do the same for CFR.

Wednesday
Group A (Porto v Dinamo Zagreb; Dynamo Kyiv v Paris Saint-Germain)

Porto will wrap up the group if they win and PSG lose, while the French side can join the Portuguese side in the last 16 by avoiding defeat in Kiev, Dynamo will be sure of at least a UEFA Europa League berth if they match Dinamo Zagreb’s result.

Group B (Arsenal v Montpellier; Schalke v Olympiacos)
Schalke and Arsenal will both qualify with victories on matchday five. The best Montpellier can aim for is third place, and to have a chance of securing that they need to win both their remaining games.

The challenge for Arsenal is pulling back that one point deficit that they have on Schalke over the next two games. Arsenal have made a habit in recent years of finishing second in their group and as a result have been drawn against Barcelona and AC Milan in the round of 16.

Group C (Zenit St Petersburg v Málaga; Anderlecht v AC Milan)
Málaga have been one of the big surprises in the Champios League this season, already qualifying for the knockout stages. They have built their success on the away form having already won at Anderlecht while drawing at both Panathinaikos, in the play-offs, and AC Milan. A point at Zenit will lock up first place for Malaga.

Anderlecht would leapfrog Milan into second spot should they beat Massimiliano Allegri’s men, a result that would take them tantalisingly close to a first appearance in the last 16 since 2000/01.

Group D (Ajax v Borussia Dortmund; Manchester City v Real Madrid)
The so called Group of Death is living up to its billing with Ajax and Manchester City facing must-win games in order to keep their knockout round hopes alive.

Man City have the hardest task as they must beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid if they are to avoid avoid a second successive group stage elimination. A draw would take second-placed Madrid through, providing that Dortmund, who need just a point to advance, beat Ajax in Amsterdam.

Winning in Amsterdam will not be that easy for Dotrmund as Ajax have won 12 of their 13 home game against Bundesliga sides and will hope for a lucky 13th against Dortmund.

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